Contributors from members of the Copper team
According to an oft-cited survey from Marketing Donut, it takes about five calls, on average to close a deal. Yet, nearly half of all sales reps give up after one call.
A follow-up may seem more intimidating than a cold call, as there are more variables in the mix.
You might face challenging objections and probing questions while trying to recall where you stand with this prospect.
Which is why you need a follow-up script. Unlike a cold calling script, follow-up scripts build on past interactions and require a more strategic approach that involves presenting specific pieces of content that align with your conversations.
Forget “circling back” or “touching base,” follow-ups need substance. In this post, you'll learn about:
Follow-up script basics
Before we look at sales script-specifics, here are four things to remember before picking up the phone.
1. Set expectations right away.
Follow-ups happen at every stage in the sales cycle. Ideally, you’re starting the outreach process with a pipeline full of qualified leads, but that’s not always the case.
Set expectations early on about budgets, timelines, and who makes the decision. Getting the uncomfortable details out of the way early on means you can focus on following up with people.
2. Lean on your CRM.
Your CRM will be your most valuable source of information for informing your follow-up scripts. This is where you’ll store the entire history of your relationship with each prospect.
3. Always move toward a next step.
Whether it’s your second point of contact or a move toward finalizing a contract, every conversation should sign off with a next step that pushes the conversation forward.
Seal the deal.
Learn how to close sales efficiently, from overcoming objections to persuading prospects to take action, with this free handbook.
4. Don’t include these phrases.
As you craft your sales follow-up scripts, make sure you don’t include these phrases:
- "I’m calling to follow up on the proposal I sent"
- "Wanted to see if you got my email"
- "Circling back regarding last week’s call"
- "Was curious if you made a decision yet?"
- "I haven’t heard back from you"
Yikes. Not only are these statements hacky, they sound desperate and give no indication that you have any new information to share.
Now, let’s look at two types of scripts designed to help you move prospects through the pipeline: specifically, after a discovery call and after an email convo.
1. Following up after a discovery call
If you’ve already spoken with a prospect, gone over some questions and uncovered a few pain points, your next move should be aimed at moving them into the “consideration” stage of the sales funnel.
Here, you’ll want to focus on rehashing your value proposition by building on details gathered from the last conversation. You might think that reiterating details from past sales calls is, well, redundant, but it’s actually a really powerful way to demonstrate value to the prospect.
Essentially, you’re saying, “Remember how I told you x thing will help you drive sales/save time?”
Here’s an example of a script you might use in this instance to reinforce benefits.
I’ve been thinking more about how we can help your company (reduce spending/be more productive/generate more leads). I thought you’d be interested to see how we helped Client A and B deal with those challenges themselves.
Our Client A uses (product/service) and was able to (insert desirable metric) in just six months.
Even if you aren’t ready to buy today, do you have time for a 15-minute call, so I can share some benefits? Does Thursday or Friday around noon work for you?”
This example lets Tom know that you were thinking about the challenges he brought up during his last call and thought to reach out with some potential solutions.
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2. Following up after an email
Following up after an email exchange is kind of like a cold call, but with a little more familiarity. After a few back-and-forths, you’ve created some context for the conversation, sent some information along, and now want to gain a clear understanding of what your prospect is looking for.
Before you start dialing, you should be able to answer a few questions about your prospect and what their company does. Better yet, you have an understanding of what their day-to-day looks like, and the challenges that come with the job.
This is Jenn calling from ABC Marketing. I’m reaching out about the email I sent on Thursday, did you get a chance to review?
(Give the prospect a chance to answer)
I noticed on your LinkedIn page that you’re the X Director at Company C and I see that you’re looking for someone to do X, Y, and Z for your team? Is that still correct?
We offer a (insert your value proposition—ie what will your solution give them?)
Could we set up a 30-minute demo Tuesday next week? This will give me a chance to walk through how our (solution) would work for you.”
Why you should follow-up on the phone
You could request an appointment via email, especially if there’s already a conversation in progress. But the call serves as a way to get a bit more personal ahead of the demo.
In this script, our prospect Nick is a Director of Marketing. Imagine we found that he is looking to hire a social media manager. Let’s say our software solution provides teams with automation tools like prescheduling, analytics, and centralized reporting that will save him and his team a lot of time and perhaps, eliminate the need to fill that position.
You already have a sense of what kind of solution should work for Nick, but this call needs to drill down into more specific details so you can really deliver value when he books that demo and you can confidently move him along in your sales pipeline.
Think of the call as a set-up for your demo.
When a prospect tries to get rid of you by asking for an email
This is a tough one. We’ve all done it. A rep calls and rather than continue the conversation, you ask for an email, promising to look over it later. Classic.
But, rather than hang up the phone in defeat, this script aims to help you get around the brush-off and nurture the lead further down the line. A little context: this one begins after you’ve already made that initial introduction.
“Is there a time next week we can chat about this further?
(Prospect pulls the email card)
Of course, what’s the best email to send that to?
Ok, great, I’ll send you an email with XYZ, and includes some times for a meeting. Just so I have an idea what works best, is there a day or time you’d prefer?
(Prospect picks a time)
Perfect, I’ll send you a calendar invite to confirm.”
If they rebuff you, try asking one more question about their biggest work challenge, then mention what exactly you’ll be sending over. This gives you an opportunity to elaborate on your solution for that problem.
For example, you might say:
“You mentioned X was your biggest challenge, I can send you a few case studies demonstrating what we did to help Company A and Company B with a similar issue.”
Why angle for the appointment?
This person took the call and kept the rep on the line, so they might actually be busy—or they’re still weighing their options.
When you do send the follow-up email, it should include a personalized piece of content—something that demonstrates how your product or service works, specifically for their niche.
Make a note in your CRM detailing the interaction, what you sent them, and schedule another follow-up down the line.
Continue to educate
Depending on your product/service, prospects might spend a significant amount of time trying to decide if it makes sense to move forward.
The prospect might not be the only decision-maker involved, especially if this is a big account with big money on the table.
Try adding something like this to your script if you’re reaching out mid-funnel:
"Mary, I know changing providers is a big decision. That’s why I thought you might be interested in this (resource) on (industry-specific problem).
Let’s set up a time to chat so I can answer any questions you might have. Are you available on Wednesday afternoon?"
Why educate the prospect?
What’s nice about this follow-up sales script is that you’re finding an opportunity to provide value beyond your initial outreach to the prospect. Just because someone has expressed interest in your product doesn't mean they're sold on it already—education is a great way to keep the conversation going (toward a sale).
If you’re dropping in a resource, make a note in your CRM to email Mary something relevant to her business.
You can use this as an “excuse” to reach out a few days later.
Because you’re educating Mary through specific, relevant examples, you’re helping her move through the decision process.
In Copper, you can keep track of everything you’ve sent to your prospect by scheduling tasks associated with a particular customer record.
A few closing lines to seal the deal
You can keep going back and forth with prospects until you’ve rehashed every feature and benefit and shared every valuable resource at your disposal. Eventually, the time comes when you need to go in for the final ask.
Here are a few lines you can use to get that contract signed after all of those follow-ups:
- "Interested in A,B, and C features? If we start the process today, you’ll be up and running within (X amount of time)."
The idea here: the sooner the prospect locks down a deal, the sooner they’ll start solving their problems.
- "It sounds like we can help with A and B. We can get started now or we can schedule another meeting if you’d like to explore other options."
While this might sound a bit passive, it gives the prospect a sense of control, while reminding them that they can go ahead and solve the problem now.
- "Why not give it a try?"
Simple, yet effective. The “Hey, why, not?” approach advances the conversation without resorting to using terms like “money-back guarantee” or asking the prospect to “make a commitment.”
"This offer is good until (X date) so I’ll need a signed contract before (date) to lock in that deal."
This sign-off creates a sense of urgency and can push them toward signing the contract ASAP.
- "Unless you have any additional questions, we can go ahead and get started."
Here, you’re leaving room for the prospect to gather more information, while making it clear that it’s time to move forward.
What comes after the follow-up sales script? More follow-ups
A strong follow-up strategy starts in your CRM. Assuming your pipeline is filled with qualified leads, chances are, you have something people want to buy. The thing is, you might need to make your “ask” a few times before the prospect finally becomes a client.
Make a habit of creating follow-up sales scripts for each subsequent follow-up and be sure all interactions are logged, details recorded, and your next move is scheduled. It’s that strategic approach that’ll get you closer to the deal.